In 2010 my wife and I made the big decision to move back to South Africa from the UK, where we’d been living for 4 years. We set ourselves the goal of being back home in Cape Town for the kickoff of South Africa’s FIFA World Cup 2010.
We made it home one day later than planned, but came home to one of South Africa’s most exciting, energetic, and happy periods of it’s recent history. It was a very memorable and significant life moment for us, and great reassurance we’d made the right decision.
During the world cup, being a massive fan of illustration and design, I was drawn to one particular poster, that formed the backdrop of the stage at the FIFA World Cup concert. I trawled the internet to find the artist behind it and discovered the illustrator and graphic designer – Sindiso Nyoni.
I’d been thinking about getting my first tattoo to remember that pivotal period of my life and my love and pride for our beautiful, diverse country that I’d come back home to. I commissioned Sindiso with a loose brief of what I wanted with the father of our land, Madiba, being the focus – the symbol of everything good about our country.
A long story short, as it’s not the focus of this post, Sindiso came back to me with a fantastic illustration, that far exceeded my expectations. During the process he deemed it appropriate to include some specific wording. A beautiful zulu phrase summing up the African humanism known as ubuntu. Roughly translated “A person is a person because of other people“.
The thing is I still haven’t got that tattoo, and I don’t know why I chickened out of it… It feels more appropriate than ever now and something I want to proudly showcase.
Today will always be remembered as one of the saddest for our country, the day we said Hamba Kahle Madiba. All of us South Africans have a story to tell of how Nelson Mandela impacted our lives and how much we will miss him, but his spirit will live on through the spirit of ubuntu.